Architect Reid Highley lived for several years with an inadequate kitchen. When he got engaged, however, he knew it was time for an upgrade. At 180 sq. ft., the kitchen was surprisingly large for an 800-sq.-ft. house, but most of that space was wide open. Highley’s first decision was to place a multifunction island in that empty space. In addition to providing bar-style seating, trash and dog-food storage, and counter space, the island hides a front-loading washer and dryer. Highley also purchased a cooktop, convection oven, range hood, sink, and cabinets from Ikea. He found his best deal, though, in a Dumpster: white marble toilet partitions that he cut to size, polished, and installed as countertops. Starting with a budget of $10,000, he transformed the room so creatively and cost-effectively that he ended up spending just over half of that amount.
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